El Chapo’s former mistress fled with the notorious Mexican drug lord – who was naked – through a tunnel under a bathtub, a court heard.
Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez was testifying against Joaquin Guzman – known as El Chapo (shorty) – at a drug trafficking trial in New York.
Sanchez, 29, a former local politician from El Chapo’s home state of Sinaloa, told of her often risky relationship with the cartel boss as his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, sat expressionless in the gallery.
Having already admitted earlier this year to drug charges after her arrest last year, she said she met Guzman, 61, in 2010 and within a year she was visiting his hideouts in Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere for business.
The pair texted on encrypted mobile phones he gave her and over time they began mixing business with pleasure, which she said caused her distress.
“Until this day, I’m confused because I thought we were in a romantic relationship,” she said before needing to take a break as she burst into tears.
“Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I didn’t,” she added later.
She said it started to get bad when El Chapo got Sanchez to buy marijuana for him, with instructions to get 400kg for each plane to transport it from the countryside.
Texts intercepted showed the pair calling each other “love” as they plotted the drugs shift were shown to the jury – although some messages from El Chapo sounded more menacing.
The petite and softly spoken Sanchez said she would sometimes sweet talk him “so he didn’t think I would rat him out… I thought he could hurt me”.
At the end of 2012 the relationship began to sour but “seemed like it would never end,” she said.
He then invited her to a safe house in the city of Culiacan in 2014 so she immediately accepted.
A team of Mexican marines were hunting for him then so he was moving between safehouses and when she went to meet him, she spent the night with him before one of his assistants said: “They’re on us.”
El Chapo took her to a bathroom where the bath was lifted with hydraulics to expose a fortified trap door at the entrance of a sewage tunnel which led to a more remote part of the city.
She said El Chapo “was naked. He took off running. He left us behind”.
When asked how long she was in the tunnel, she said: “Long enough to be traumatised.”
Shortly after she claims she lost him in the tunnel, El Chapo was captured at a hotel in the resort town of Mazatlan with his wife and young twin daughters.
Earlier on Thursday, a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent, who was there, revealed how the marines could not believe they had caught Mexico’s most wanted.
“Is it him? Is it him?” DEA agent Victor Vazquez said the soldiers kept asking him.
He said he then looked at Guzman quizically and said: “It’s you.”
El Chapo paid $100m bribe to Mexico’s former president, claims trial witness
The president’s former chief of staff dismisses the claims and says Mr Pena Nieto helped bring El Chapo to justice
El Chapo was extradited to the US in 2017 to face charges of trafficking cocaine, heroin and other drugs as head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.
He famously broke out of jail twice, including in 2015 when he escaped through a mile-long tunnel that had been dug to his cell.
The president personally announced the news of his recapture in January 2016.
Guzman’s trial in the US is being held under extremely tight security amid fears of another potential escape plot and intimidation of witnesses and officials.
His lawyers say any allegations have been fabricated by those seeking leniency in their own cases.